May 22, 2013
New York is one of the healthiest metropolises in the world, with residents and visitors walking everywhere, the Citibike bicycle-sharing system becoming the rage, and fitness clubs located on nearly every block. So it’s fitting that restaurateurs should start touting health on their menus while turning up the flavour profiles and presentation. Here are a few of the best options for healthy eating in New York…
Michelle Gauthier and Genevieve Lynch, proprietors of Tribeca newcomer Mulberry & Vine, prove that spices and herbs are beyond-suitable substitutes for butter, oils and fats. Their executive chef, Justin Schwartz, is a lifelong student of holistic cooking and imbues his global fare with wellbeing-promoting ingredients. “I think people are afraid to venture out and try healthy foods, thinking it will taste too bland,” says Schwartz. “We’ve tried to create an environment that makes healthy eating fun, and the dishes are really tasty and filling.”
Within the peaceful, bi-level establishement – it’s very “Malibu” for Manhattan – customers are free to try anything before making a selection and the friendly staff are well educated about ingredients’ virtues. From spicy sesame soba noodles and southwestern-style quinoa to Vietnamese seared beef and green chile chicken empanadas, dishes pack a savoury, comforting punch with virtually no added fat. “I’ve been surprised by three healthy dishes that are really popular,” notes Schwartz. “Our beets with pomegranate reduction which is sweet, tart and spicy; roasted cauliflower with a housemade green Sriracha sauce, and our lentil salad with cumin-lime vinaigrette. It’s great to see that people are loving these healthy foods.”
Mulberry & Vine, 73 Warren Street, New York
Meanwhile, in the West Village, restaurateur Hector Sanz (of Macondo, Ravuela, and Barraca acclaim) reinterprets Mediterranean fare for NYC foodies with Melibea. Madrid-born executive chef Jesus Nuez serves up elegant interpretations of traditional pan-Mediterranean flavours. His baba gahnoush, salmon and scallop carpaccio, and “free-style pasta” with oxtail and octopus are particularly strong. Its rustic decor creates an undeniably romantic ambience, too, if you’re in the market for such an experience.
Melibea, 2 Bank Street (at the corner of Greenwich Avenue), New York
Further uptown, over-the-top seafood takes centre stage at Sea Fire Grill. Chef Ted Pryor, an Orsay and Les Halles alum, serves as executive chef, putting an emphasis on precision and celebrating the flavours of locally sourced seafood and ingredients. There’s a lively post-work bar crowd – as is to be expected on East 48th Street – and raw bar and appetiser offerings (think: a trio of lobster rolls) are classic and decadent. Seasonally sourced fresh catches like blackened Montauk swordfish and herb-basted Alaskan halibut are deftly prepared, while a jaw-dropping surf-and-turf makes for an unmistakable splurge.
Sea Fire Grill, 158 East 48th Street, New York
Header photo: Sea Fire Grill, New York © Sea Fire Grill
Where are your favourite health food haunts in New York? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by Andrew Stone